April 6, 2010

Shot in the Arm

On the Easter weekend, Mike asked for my help in giving himself an insulin shot.

I'd never done this before. So of course, you know it's going to be adventure.

We've been married since September 2005 and together since early 2000, and for nearly all of that time he's been on an insulin pump. Through the years, I've occasionally helped him put in an infusion site by squeezing a spot on his arm, near-back, or other hard to reach places. But since he hasn't been injecting since the early days of our dating life, I hadn't ever done that. Recently, he took a break from insulin pumping for the first time in nine years in order to let his body heal some. He's been doing Multiple Daily Injections since March 26, taking a Lantus Pen dose each night and Humalog injections throughout the day as needed for food and correction boluses.

Needing to use a new spot on the backside of his arm, he summoned me to assist. But instead of just squeezing, he wanted me to actually inject the 1/2 cc needle. A quick how-to and we were set.

Put it into the pinched backside of flesh, about on the halfway point of his left arm. Pushed the plunger down. He didn't flinch or say anything and indicated everything seemed fine.

Pulled it out, turning the needle slightly as I've seen him do when pulling a needle out on his own.

That's when he flinched. And made a comment. And the blood started flowing.

Not much blood, but enough to notice and find something to wipe it up and hold to the arm for a few moments.

It must have knicked a muscle or vein inside, he said, noting that it didn't hurt at first.

I hung my head low in shame, feeling as though I'd failed miserably on my debut insulin injection.

He reassured me that it was fine, not my fault, but the facts can't be ignored.

I stabbed my husband with a sharp needle, made him bleed, and caused a bruise.

I'm done with giving insulin shots. Instead, I'll go back to pinching the skin and letting him do the shot so that whatever damage happens is on his hands.


  1. You did FINE... Nothing you could have done differently, and definetely not caused by you. I've had so many worse and painful injections, and real gushers, that this hardly even pales in comparison. Thank you for the help! No worries on this... Love you!

  2. I want to echo Michael's comment that you did fine. I'm the son of a T1 father, and I have helped my Dad with his insulin injections at times.

    When I help, it's usually because the lighting is poor and my Dad struggles with his vision. It is hard to draw the exact amount you need if you have low vision and are in a dark room. (So you may be needed again in future years... although many vision complications can be avoided with good blood glucose control.)

    Overall, your post reminds of a popular phrase in my family, "It couldn't have happened if you weren't trying to help."

  3. It's funny - I can (and regularly do) take a shot, but don't even ask me to give one! Nope, no way.

    You're a very good T3 to even try. My husband is often my Dexcom inserter. We'd be lost without you guys!

  4. It's nothing you did. Heck, I bled like a water balloon that was hit with a needle last night from a site. It's what humans do. We bleed. You aren' the first spouse that has caused this to happen. Please don't get discouraged.
    It helps us emotionally when you help us physically. I'm sure Mike appreciates what you did very much.

  5. i did the same thing to my boyfriend the first time. it really gushed. he was sick though and didn't notice. luckily, he mostly has me hold his arm tight now...

  6. I've done the same thing to myself over and over and over again. With shots and Infusion sets. It's okay, it happens. I've given myself some really nasty bruises from it too, just because I hit a vein. You did great! :)

  7. lol I give my husband shots all the time in the place where - ahem - he can't reach. What amazes me is that he'll ask even after we've just had an argument. I'll admit I've stabbed with gusto on more than one occasion ;)

  8. do look into humalog pens... they're great :-)

  9. gushers happen, to everyone!

  10. As bizarre as this may sound I have abit of a phobia about anyone else giving me my shots, ridiculous I know. Im 21 years of age and have done my own shots (up to 6 a day) myself since I was seven, I have tattoos and piercings and that doesn't bother me in the slightest but I dont think anyone has done my injections for me since I was diagnosed (with an exception of the nurse the first few times) Not even either of my parents. As for giving blood or having blood tests I am soooo squeemish and makes me feel faint the thought of anbody else injecting me/ tkaing blood etc. I know how stupid this must sound, but it's just me! I have no problems doing my shots myself or doing my glucose levels! Strange huh??

  11. My hubby has a great record of delivery in the butt ( mine ) for years, prior to pumping ...at times he helps with infusion sets ...totally trust him ;-)

  12. My husband is still a bit squeemish about poking me. He might help me find a good site location on my back side, but the poking is up to me :)

  13. Jeez, no that I think about it, maybe I should ask my wife to do my next injection. She has been irked at me lately and she may actually enjoy it.

  14. I can relate to that story to an extent, I mean my fiance and I have been together for over a year now and He still knows nothing about my care, and prefers to stay that way. I wish he would take the initiative to learn a little more about it, but I just remain hopeful that he will do it in his own time.

  15. I want to absolutely salute you for stepping up to the plate and giving your first injection to Mike. What a loving and supportive gesture. Please hold your head high as you took a giant step and did something so essential and invaluable. What a wonderful person you are. The next time will be easier.

    As a mom to a now 22 yr old who was diagnosed with diabetes in 1989, I've given many injections that bled afterward. There's nothing you did wrong that caused the needle to hit a tiny blood vessel...it's common, it's beneath the skin, it's unavoidable.


  16. I appreciate you talking about the guilt associated with care giving. Coping with a loved ones disease as a care giver has been shown in research to be very tolling on the both the patient and the care providers.


    Administering the dose before we got a pump was always a very stressful day to day routine for me helping my husband.